Tanycolagreus is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod from the Late Jurassic of North America.

Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 153–150 Ma
Tanycolagreus Museum of Ancient Life 1
Tanycolagreus holotype, North American Museum of Ancient Life
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Coelurosauria
Genus: Tanycolagreus
Carpenter et al., 2005
T. topwilsoni
Binomial name
Tanycolagreus topwilsoni
Carpenter et al., 2005


Tanycolagreus reconstruction
Tanycolagreus life restoration

Carpenter et al. (2005, pp. 43–44) determined that the holotype of Tanycolagreus represents a subadult individual which measured approximately 3.3 meters (11 ft) long in life. However, one of the referred fossils, the premaxilla from the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry, would have belonged to a larger individual, measuring 4 meters (13 ft) long. In 2010 Gregory S. Paul estimated the weight of a four-meter-long animal at 120 kilograms (260 lb).[1] It cannot be determined whether or not the Cleveland-Lloyd specimen represents a fully mature adult, so the upper size limit for the taxon remains unknown.

The head of Tanycolagreus is large, elongated and rectangular in profile due to a blunt snout. The leg is rather long and lightly built.[1]

Tanycolagreus size
Estimated size of Tanycolagreus, based on Carpenter

Carpenter et al. (2005; pp. 27 & 29) diagnosed Tanycolagreus topwilsoni as follows: "Medium-sized tetanuran having short, deep-bodied premaxilla pierced by narial foramen at base of nasal process, orbital process on postorbital, T-shaped quadratojugal, centrodiapophyseal lamina on dorsals. Differs from Coelurus in the absence of pleurocoel on anterior dorsals; posterior caudal prezygapophyses elongated to one-third centrum length, rather than short; straight, rather than sigmoidal, humeral shaft; bowed, rather than straight, radius; flat-bottomed rather than arced pubic foot; straight rather than sigmoidal femoral shaft; metatarsal length subequal to humeral length, rather than 1.75 times humeral length. Differs from Ornitholestes in straight anterior margin of premaxilla, rather than rounded; T-shaped rather than L-shaped quadratojugal; elongate neural spine; posterior caudal prezygapophyses only one-third centrum length, rather than one-half centrum length; bowed, slender radius, rather than straight, robust radius".[2]

The single premaxillary tooth preserved with the holotype is badly damaged, but does exhibit the asymmetrical cross-section typical in theropod teeth; the cheek teeth are too poorly preserved to show any detail. In the foot the second toe is slightly hyperextendable but does not carry an enlarged claw.[2]

Discovery and naming

Tanycolagreus topwilsoni skull cast - Natural History Museum of Utah - DSC07224
Restored skull cast

In 1995 Western Paleontological Laboratories, Inc. uncovered the partial skeleton of a small theropod at the Bone Cabin Quarry West locality, Albany County, Wyoming, from the Salt Wash Member of the Morrison Formation, dating to the Oxfordian-Tithonian. At first the find was considered to be a specimen of Coelurus[3] but subsequent study indicated it represented a species new to science, that in 2001 was announced to be named Tanycolagreus topwilsoni. It was actually named and described by Kenneth Carpenter, Clifford Miles and Karen Cloward in 2005. The etymology of the generic name Tanycolagreus, suggested by Ben Creisler, is based upon the greater length of its forelimbs and hindlimbs compared to Coelurus. It is derived from the Greek prefix τανυ~, tany~: 'long, stretched out', κῶλον, kolon: 'limb' and ἀγρεύς, agreus: 'hunter'. The specific name honours George Eugene "Top" Wilson, the father of a benefactor financially supporting the scientific research.[2]

Tanycolagreus topwilsoni slab
Restored skeleton

The fossil, holotype TPII 2000-09-29, was donated to science by an anonymous benefactor. It is part of the collection of Thanksgiving Point Institute, Inc. and displayed in the North American Museum of Ancient Life at Lehi, Utah. It includes an incomplete skull and mandible (lower jaws) and much of the postcranial skeleton, i.e. the parts behind the head. The skull of Tanycolagreus is less well known than its postcranial anatomy, and only the following elements have been found: left nasal, left lacrimal, left premaxilla and one premaxillary tooth, left postorbital, left quadratojugal, incomplete left squamosal, right quadrate, right splenial, left articular, and two cheek teeth. A paratype has been assigned to the species: specimen AMNH 587 consisting of an incomplete hand also collected from Bone Cabin Quarry and originally in 1903 by Henry Fairfield Osborn referred to Ornitholestes hermanni.[4] Two other fossils have been referred to Tanycolagreus: UUVP 2999, a premaxilla, originally in 1974 referred to Stokesosaurus clevelandi,[5] from the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry of Utah; and USNM 5737, a pair of distal pubes from Colorado earlier in 1920 by Charles Whitney Gilmore referred to Coelurus.[6] These specimens are from the later Brushy Basin Member.[2]

Tanycolagreus is present in stratigraphic zone 2 of the Morrison. Remains possibly referrable to Stokesosaurus have been recovered from stratigraphic zone 5 of the Morrison Formation.[7] A life restoration of Tanycolagreus is also on display at the North American Museum of Ancient Life, where it is portrayed as preying upon a small ornithischian dinosaur, Othnielia rex.


Carpenter e.a. originally assigned Tanycolagreus to the Coeluridae.[2] Carpenter et alii (2005, p. 44) state that, of the other known Morrison theropods, this genus most closely resembles Coelurus, though it retains more "primitive" features. A detailed phylogenetic analysis in 2007 by Philip Senter including Tanycolagreus showed it had a basal position in the Tyrannosauroidea.[8] Later analyses indicated a basal position in the Coelurosauria.[9]


  1. ^ a b Paul, G.S., 2010, The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, Princeton University Press p. 124
  2. ^ a b c d e Carpenter, K., Miles, C., and Cloward, K. (2005). "New small theropod from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming." in Carpenter, K. 2005. The Carnivorous Dinosaurs, Indiana University Press: 23-48
  3. ^ Miles, C.A., Carpenter K. and Cloward, K.C., 1998, "A new skeleton of Coelurus fragilis from the Morrison Formation of Wyoming", Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18(3): 64A
  4. ^ Osborn, Henry Fairfield, 1903, "Ornitholestes hermanni, a new compsognathoid dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic", Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 19(12): 459–464
  5. ^ Madsen, J., 1974, "A new theropod dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Utah", Journal of Paleontology, 48: 27-31
  6. ^ Gilmore, C.W., 1920, "Osteology of the carnivorous Dinosauria in the United States National Museum, with special reference to the genera Antrodemus (Allosaurus) and Ceratosaurus", Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 110: 1-154
  7. ^ Foster, J. (2007). "Appendix." Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. pp. 327-329
  8. ^ Senter, P. (2007). "A new look at the phylogeny of Coelurosauria (Dinosauria: Theropoda)", Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 5(4): 429-463
  9. ^ O.W.M. Rauhut, A.C. Milner, and S. Moore-Fay, 2010, "Cranial osteology and phylogenetic position of the theropod dinosaur Proceratosaurus bradleyi (Woodward, 1910) from the Middle Jurassic of England", Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 158(1): 155-195
2005 in paleontology

Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 2005.


Coeluridae is a historically unnatural group of generally small, carnivorous dinosaurs from the late Jurassic Period. For many years, any small Jurassic or Cretaceous theropod that did not belong to one of the more specialized families recognized at the time was classified with the coelurids, creating a confusing array of 'coelurid' theropods that were not closely related. Although they have been traditionally included in this family, there is no evidence that any of these primitive coelurosaurs form a natural group with Coelurus, the namesake of Coeluridae, to the exclusion of other traditional coelurosaur groups.


Coelurosauria (; from Greek, meaning "hollow tailed lizards") is the clade containing all theropod dinosaurs more closely related to birds than to carnosaurs.

Coelurosauria is a subgroup of theropod dinosaurs that includes compsognathids, tyrannosaurs, ornithomimosaurs, and maniraptorans; Maniraptora includes birds, the only dinosaur group alive today.Most feathered dinosaurs discovered so far have been coelurosaurs. Philip J. Currie considers it likely and probable that all coelurosaurs were feathered. In the past, Coelurosauria was used to refer to all small theropods, but this classification has since been abolished.


Coelurus ( si-LEWR-əs) is a genus of coelurosaurian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (mid-late Kimmeridgian faunal stage, 155–152 million years ago). The name means "hollow tail", referring to its hollow tail vertebrae (Greek κοῖλος, koilos = hollow + οὐρά, oura = tail). Although its name is linked to one of the main divisions of theropods (Coelurosauria), it has historically been poorly understood, and sometimes confused with its better-known contemporary Ornitholestes. Like many dinosaurs studied in the early years of paleontology, it has had a confusing taxonomic history, with several species being named and later transferred to other genera or abandoned. Only one species is currently recognized as valid: the type species, C. fragilis, described by Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879. It is known from one partial skeleton found in the Morrison Formation of Wyoming, United States. It was a small bipedal carnivore with elongate legs.


Deinocheiridae is a family of ornithomimosaurian dinosaurs, living in Asia from the Albian until the Maastrichtian. The family was originally named by Halszka Osmólska and Roniewicz in 1970, including only the type genus Deinocheirus. In a 2014 study by Yuong-Nam Lee and colleagues and published in the journal Nature, it was found that Deinocheiridae was a valid family. Lee et al. found that based on a new phylogenetic analysis including the recently discovered complete skeletons of Deinocheirus, the type genus, as well as Garudimimus and Beishanlong, could be placed as a successive group, with Beishanlong as the most primitive and Deinocheirus as most derived. The family Garudimimidae, named in 1981 by Rinchen Barsbold, is now a junior synonym of Deinocheiridae as the latter family includes the type genus of the former. The group existed from 115 to 69 million years ago, with Beishanlong living from 115 to 100 mya, Garudimimus living from 98 to 83 mya, and Deinocheirus living from 71 to 69 mya.

Garden Park, Colorado

Garden Park is a paleontological site in Fremont County, Colorado, known for its Jurassic dinosaurs and the role the specimens played in the infamous Bone Wars of the late 19th century. Located 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Cañon City, the name originates from the area providing vegetables to the miners at nearby Cripple Creek in the 19th century. Garden Park proper is a triangular valley surrounded by cliffs on the southeast and southwest and by mountains to the north; however, the name is also refers to the dinosaur sites on top and along the cliffs. The dinosaur sites now form the Garden Park Paleontological Resource Area, which is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.


In the geologic timescale, the Kimmeridgian is an age or stage in the Late or Upper Jurassic epoch or series. It spans the time between 157.3 ± 1.0 Ma and 152.1 ± 0.9 Ma (million years ago). The Kimmeridgian follows the Oxfordian and precedes the Tithonian.

List of North American dinosaurs

This is a list of dinosaurs whose remains have been recovered from North America. North America has a rich dinosaur fossil record with great diversity of dinosaurs.

List of dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation

The Morrison Formation is a distinctive sequence of Upper Jurassic sedimentary rock that is found in the western United States, which has been the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America. It is composed of mudstone, sandstone, siltstone and limestone and is light grey, greenish gray, or red. Most of the fossils occur in the green siltstone beds and lower sandstones, relics of the rivers and floodplains of the Jurassic period.

List of the Mesozoic life of Wyoming

This list of the Mesozoic life of Wyoming contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Wyoming and are between 252.17 and 66 million years of age.

List of the prehistoric life of Utah

This list of the prehistoric life of Utah contains the various prehistoric life-forms whose fossilized remains have been reported from within the US state of Utah.


Maniraptoriformes is a clade of dinosaurs with pennaceous feathers and wings that contains ornithomimosaurs and maniraptors. This group was named by Thomas Holtz, who defined it as "the most recent common ancestor of Ornithomimus and birds, and all descendants of that common ancestor."


Megaraptora is a clade of carnivorous theropod dinosaurs with elongated hand claws and controversial relations to other theropods.Megaraptorans are incompletely known, and no complete megaraptoran skeleton has been found. However, they still possessed a number of unique features. Their forelimbs were large and strongly built, and the ulna bone had a unique shape in members of the family Megaraptoridae, a subset of megaraptorans which excludes Fukuiraptor. The first two fingers were elongated, with massive curved claws, while the third finger was small. Megaraptoran skull material is very incomplete, but a juvenile Megaraptor described in 2014 preserved a portion of the snout, which was long and slender. Leg bones referred to megaraptorans were also quite slender and similar to those of coelurosaurs adapted for running. Although megaraptorans were thick-bodied theropods, their bones were heavily pneumatized, or filled with air pockets. The vertebrae, ribs, and the ilium bone of the hip were pneumatized to an extent which was very rare among theropods, only seen elsewhere in taxa such as Neovenator. Other characteristic features include opisthocoelous neck vertebrae and compsognathid-like teeth.The clade was originally named in 2010 as a subset of the family Neovenatoridae, a group of lightly-built allosauroids related to the massive carcharodontosaurids such as Giganotosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus. A 2013 phylogenetic analysis by Fernando Novas and his colleagues disagreed with this classification scheme, and instead argued that the megaraptorans evolved deep within Tyrannosauroidea, a superfamily of basal coelurosaurs including the famous Tyrannosaurus. Subsequent refinements to Novas's data and methodologies have supported a third position for the group, at the base of Coelurosauria among other controversial theropods such as Gualicho, but not within the Tyrannosauroidea. Regardless of their position, it is clear that megaraptorans experienced a large amount of convergent evolution with either Neovenator-like allosauroids or basal coelurosaurs.Megaraptorans were most diverse in the early Late Cretaceous of South America, particularly Patagonia. However, they had a widespread distribution. Fukuiraptor, the most basal ("primitive") known member of the group, lived in Japan. Megaraptoran material is also common in Australia, and the largest known predatory dinosaur from the continent, Australovenator, was a megaraptoran.


Nqwebasaurus (IPA: [ᵑǃʷɛbaˈsɔɹəs]; anglicized as or ) is a basal coelurosaur and is the basal-most member of the coelurosaurian clade Ornithomimosauria from the Early Cretaceous of South Africa. The name Nqwebasaurus is derived from the Xhosa word "Nqweba" which is the local name for the Kirkwood district, and "thwazi" is ancient Xhosa for lightning. Currently it is the only known coelurosaur discovered in Africa and shows that basal coelurosaurian dinosaurs inhabited Gondwana 50 million years earlier than previously thought. The type specimen of Nqwebasaurus was discovered by William J. de Klerk who is affiliated with the Albany Museum in Grahamstown. It is the only fossil of its species found to date and was found in the Kirkwood Formation of the Uitenhage Group. Nqwebasaurus has the unofficial nickname "Kirky", due to being found in the Kirkwood.


Ornitholestes (meaning "bird robber") is a small theropod dinosaur of the late Jurassic (Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation, middle Kimmeridgian age, about 154 million years ago) of Western Laurasia (the area that was to become North America).

To date, Ornitholestes is known only from a single partial skeleton with a badly crushed skull found at the Bone Cabin Quarry near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, in 1900. It was described by Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1903. An incomplete hand was later attributed to Ornitholestes, although it now appears to belong to Tanycolagreus. The type (and only known) species is O. hermanni. The specific name honors the American Museum of Natural History preparator Adam Hermann.


The Ornithomimosauria, ornithomimosaurs ("bird-mimic lizards") or ostrich dinosaurs are theropod dinosaurs which bore a superficial resemblance to modern ostriches. They were fast, omnivorous or herbivorous dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period of Laurasia (now Asia, Europe and North America), as well as Africa and possibly Australia. The group first appeared in the Early Cretaceous and persisted until the Late Cretaceous. Primitive members of the group include Nqwebasaurus, Pelecanimimus, Shenzhousaurus, Hexing and Deinocheirus, the arms of which reached 2.4 m (8 feet) in length. More advanced species, members of the family Ornithomimidae, include Gallimimus, Struthiomimus, and Ornithomimus. Some paleontologists, like Paul Sereno, consider the enigmatic alvarezsaurids to be close relatives of the ornithomimosaurs and place them together in the superfamily Ornithomimoidea (see classification below).


Stokesosaurus (meaning "Stokes' lizard") is a genus of small (around 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 ft) in length), carnivorous early tyrannosauroid theropod dinosaurs from the late Jurassic period of Utah, United States.


In the geological timescale, the Tithonian is the latest age of the Late Jurassic epoch or the uppermost stage of the Upper Jurassic series. It spans the time between 152.1 ± 4 Ma and 145.0 ± 4 Ma (million years ago). It is preceded by the Kimmeridgian and followed by the Berriasian stage (part of the Cretaceous).


Tyrannosauroidea (meaning 'tyrant lizard forms') is a superfamily (or clade) of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs that includes the family Tyrannosauridae as well as more basal relatives. Tyrannosauroids lived on the Laurasian supercontinent beginning in the Jurassic Period. By the end of the Cretaceous Period, tyrannosauroids were the dominant large predators in the Northern Hemisphere, culminating in the gigantic Tyrannosaurus. Fossils of tyrannosauroids have been recovered on what are now the continents of North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Tyrannosauroids were bipedal carnivores, as were most theropods, and were characterized by numerous skeletal features, especially of the skull and pelvis. Early in their existence, tyrannosauroids were small predators with long, three-fingered forelimbs. Late Cretaceous genera became much larger, including some of the largest land-based predators ever to exist, but most of these later genera had proportionately small forelimbs with only two digits. Primitive feathers have been identified in fossils of two species, and may have been present in other tyrannosauroids as well. Prominent bony crests in a variety of shapes and sizes on the skulls of many tyrannosauroids may have served display functions.



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